Bruins Post-Game Recap: Washington at Boston: 11/16/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Less than 24 hours removed from their 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 12-3-4 Boston Bruins are right back at it tonight against the Washington Capitals who have the best record in the National Hockey League but felt short last night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (12-3-4)

Away: Washington Capitals (14-3-4)

Bruins Last Game: 4-2 win vs TOR

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is out with a lower-body injury, he is considered day-to-day. Forward Paul Carey will play in his 100th career NHL game as a replacement.

First Period:

The opening minutes of this hockey game starts out pretty even, but it seems that the Capitals are getting a bit more zone time and a few more chances in Boston’s end. That said, the Bruins seem to be playing responsible hockey on the defensive side and they are holding their own against a solid Washington team.

Not long after the Bruins successfully killed off David Pastrnak’s hooking minor, Danton Heinen makes a slick pass from right near the boards to Charlie Coyle in the slot who taps the puck five-hole past Braden Holtby – Bruins score first, it’s 1-0.

This game has been entertaining so far, with both teams getting bids on either goaltender. However, only three minutes after Coyle’s game-opening tally, Travis Boyd scores his first goal of the 2019-20 season off of a couple deflections near the net and Washington ties the game.

In the final minutes of the period, the action amped up even more when the Bruins get their first power-play of the contest with just around 38 seconds remaining. Boston fails to get any chances on the reduced man-advantage due to Pastrnak turning the puck over and allowing the Capitals a shorthanded bid that gets stopped by Halak, but they will start the second frame with over a minute of power-play time.

Not the best period for Boston because of the lack of really good offensive chances, but they did strike on 5-on-5 and are in a tie with one of the top teams in the NHL.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 WSH: 18

Score: 1-1 Goals – Coyle (4) Assists: Heinen (5), McAvoy (5); Boyd (1) Assists: Carlson (24), Leipsic (5)

Second Period:

Bruce Cassidy must have said something in the locker room during the first intermission because shortly after the penalty on Washington expired, the Bruins set up a beautiful tic-tac-toe play for Charlie McAvoy who misses the net wide, however, Pastrnak on the goal line buries it on what seemed like an impossible shot, Bruins take a 2-1 lead early on in the second.

Danton Heinen takes a penalty a few minutes after Boston’s goal – another hooking minor. It seems like the officials are calling these stick infractions a lot tonight, Bruins need to be more careful or it may come back to haunt them. Regardless, the penalty-kill looks great and it is back to even-strength.

With 9:55 remaining in the second frame, John Carlson gets his stick caught in the skates of forward Paul Carey who was called up early today and Boston goes to the power-play. They are unable to capitalize and then Washington comes back with a long, dangerous time in Boston’s zone including a one-timer shot that beats Halak, but not the post. Bruins survive the onslaught for now.

The remainder of the period was a good one, but Washington has been the better team offensively – a direct result of the shot department. Bruins ahead by one heading into the final regulation period.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 15 WSH: 30

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Pastrnak (17) Assists: McAvoy (6), Krejci (9)

Third Period:

The third period starts off just as the rest of the game has been – back-and-forth hockey for a good majority of the opening period and the Bruins have been looking solid on both sides of the puck. It does, however, seem like Boston is content playing more of a defensive game to keep their one-goal advantage, but they have to be careful to not get too defensive.

After Tom Wilson absolutely destroys Chris Wagner with a massive body-to-body hit, the Capitals get a good offensive chance to score on an odd-man rush but Charlie McAvoy makes a tremendous effort to backcheck and he manages to disrupt the shooter enough to prevent a shot altogether, a great move from the young defenceman.

As tensions rise with the minutes ticking away, Alex Ovechkin nails McAvoy along the end boards, only for McAvoy to lay a heavy hit on Tom Wilson when the play went the other way. Wilson didn’t like the hit and grabbed McAvoy’s stick. As the two begin to scuffle, captain Zdeno Chara comes to the aid of McAvoy and grabs Wilson. Chara and Wilson each go off for roughing, four-on-four hockey coming up.

Just around halfway into the 4-on-4 session, Charlie Coyle makes a great neutral zone play to steal the puck and get in on a rush towards the net, becoming a breakaway, but Holtby follows Coyle brilliantly to make the pad save. Chara and Wilson’s penalties expire with 3:53 remaining in the third period.

Washington comes just inches away from equalizing the hockey game when Halak attempts to play the puck from behind his net that goes to Wilson and eventually to John Carlson. Carlson’s bomb from the point makes the identifiable “ding” off the post and stays out, 3:04 left to go.

The Capitals pull the goalie with a little over a minute remaining in the game and with the extra man, bury the tying goal. Evgeni Kuznetsov takes the puck behind the net and throws it out front for T.J. Oshie who slaps it home, 2-2 with 58 seconds left in regulation.

This game is going to 3-on-3 overtime.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 21 WSH: 41

Score: 2-2

Overtime:

As soon as the puck is dropped for overtime, Tom Wilson takes a stick up high from Brad Marchand with no call made and then Kuznetsov gets a breakaway in on Jaroslav Halak but Halak somehow manages to make a save to keep it tied for now.

Washington has had the majority of puck possession halfway through overtime, making smart passes and zone entries but on two shots – one from Alex Ovechkin and one from T.J. Oshie missed the net way wide when they tried to snipe it. Boston has not had any chances to bury the game-winning goal yet.

Capitals get another great chance on an outlet pass but Urho Vaakanainen does an amazing job staying strong on Kuznetsov, making it pretty easy for Halak to read the play and make the save. This play from Vaakanainen came moments after he nearly buried it. A great shift for the young prospect. Overtime ends there, the always-loved shootout will end this entertaining affair.

Shootout:

WSH T.J Oshie – NO GOAL

BOS Charlie Coyle – GOAL

WSH Evgeny Kuznetsov – NO GOAL

BOS David Pastrnak – NO GOAL

WSH Nicklas Backstrom – GOAL

BOS Brad Marchand – NO GOAL

WSH Alex Ovechkin – NO GOAL

BOS David Krejci – NO GOAL

WSH Jakub Vrana – GOAL

BOS Chris Wagner – NO GOAL

Final Score: 3-2 Capitals

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 42 Saves, .955 SV%

2nd Star: WSH F T.J. Oshie – 1 Goal (Game-Tying), 6 Shots, 21:03 TOI

3rd Star: BOS D Charlie McAvoy – 2 Assists, 23:23 TOI

Boston falls to 12-3-5 with the shootout loss, but take 3-out-of-4 possible points in this back-to-back weekend. Up next, New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in New Jersey.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Postgame Recap, November 5th | Montreal Defeats Boston 5-4

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: SF Gate)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter:  @pastagrl88

Old rivalries die hard and tonight things got heated at the Bell Centre as Boston played the second of their back-to-back. The Bruins were looking to carry over their momentum from the previous win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, however lady luck would not be on their side as they played North of the border.

Game Recap

Montreal opened the first period up as Victor Mete got the Habs on board with a wrist shot at 1:13. However, with five minutes left in the first,  the Bruins would tie things up as David Pastrnak slapped his 15th goal of the season past Carey Price.  As defensive skills were breaking down  Boston’s end, Tomas Tatar would net a wrist shot in the Bruins goal, making the score 2-1. Boston would try to continue to find their legs, but the Habs took advantage as Paul Byron cushioned the lead late in the first, making the score 3-1.

With the second period underway, the boys in Black and Gold would mount a comeback when Connor Clifton sent a wrister in the Habs net. Boston would later tie in the second as Anders Bjork netted one in after a pass from Charlie McAvoy. Unfortunately, seconds later Victor Mete would score his second of the night, putting Montreal back in the lead 4-3.

Things started to shift for the Bruins as they opened up in the third period. Sean Kuraly would tie the game 4-4  when he sent a wrist shot in the back of the Habs net. With momentum swinging back and forth, Boston looked to have taken the lead when Charlie Coyle jammed one in, however, the goal was reversed for being offside after a coach’s challenge.

With the score still tied at 4-4, Montreal would once again gain the lead when Ben Chiarot sent one sailing in Boston’s net. The Bruins made one final push, only to close the game with a final score of 5-4. Tonight’s loss marks their second regulation loss of the season as Montreal ended their six-game win streak.

Game Stats

The Bruins are still first in the Atlantic Division with an 11-2-2 record with Montreal improving to an 8-5 record, fifth in the Atlantic Division. David Pastrnak continues to sizzle as he extended his game streak to 13 games. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves while Montreal’s Carey Price made 21 saves. Boston had 25 shots on goal while Montreal had 31.

History In Montreal

Bruins Captian Zdeno Chara hit a historical milestone as he played his 1,500 game tonight,  becoming the 21st player and sixth defenseman in NHL history to play that many games. Chara made his NHL debut in 1997 when he suited up for the New York Islanders.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens zdeno chara(Photo Credits: Harry How/Getty Images)

The 42-year-old  Slovakian-native is in good company; he joins Hall of Famers Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Scott Stevens, Larry Murphy, and Nicklas Lidstrom as the only defensemen to hit 1,500 games. Chara is one of the very few active players to hit that benchmark. He is also the third player not born in North America to reach that record (Jaromir Jagr and Nicklas Lidstrom being the other two).

“It’s very humbling. It’s something that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life. Obviously very proud of it too…I have so many people that I should be thanking – obviously starting with my parents. They did such a great job of raising me and so much sacrifice for me to be able to play hockey.

“My family, my wife, my children – there are so many people. I’ve been very lucky. Very grateful that I’ve been able to be in the right place at the right time and get to know some very special people along the way.

“All of my teammates, coaches…they’ve been tremendously helpful, and I wouldn’t be playing the game without them. It’s a special, special night.”

Boston will have a few days off as they travel to face the Detroit Red Wings this Friday at the Little Ceasars Arena.

WHEN TO WATCH: Friday, November 8th with puck drop at 7:30 PM

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, NHLN, FS-O

 

 

 

What To Expect From Anders Bjork This Season

( Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The injuries have already begun to pile up for the Bruins. With David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman out (as well as the lack of offense in general), the Bruins looked to call in some reinforcements from Providence. That reinforcement came in the form of Anders Bjork.

I think everybody expected Bjork to be back in the NHL at some point this year, but I don’t believe it was intended to be this early. After back to back season-ending injuries, the original plan was to have the Wisconsin native get his feet back under him in the AHL and to play his way back to the NHL. Before the season, coach Bruce Cassidy believed Bjork was “better off finding his scoring touch in Providence,” rather than beginning in Boston. 

That scoring touch Cassidy alluded to was what made Bjork a Hobey Baker finalist during his time at Notre Dame. He began his tenure with the Fighting Irish with 22 points in his rookie campaign. He continued to grow on that the season after, scoring at a point-per-game pace through 35 games. The 2016-17 season was where Bjork really shined. In 39 games, he was able to score 21 times and added 31 assists, finishing the year as a Hobey Baker finalist.

Bjork’s first season out of college started in Boston, where he flashed his potential at times, but left a lot to be desired in many aspects of his game. After 30 games, where he totaled 12 points, he was sent down to the AHL where his season was unfortunately cut short due to a shoulder injury. Bjork came into the 2018-19 season looking build off of his rookie year, but the narrative was all too similar to the season before. He was only able to tally three points in 20 games and was sent down to the AHL later in the season. Bjork was finally able to get something going in Providence with 10 points in 13 games but yet again, his season was cut short due to another shoulder injury.

To say Anders Bjork’s first two professional seasons didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. They were filled with inconsistencies and injuries, and for someone so highly touted, it is pretty safe to say that it was a failure of two years. With that being said, just as all good things must come to an end, all bad things do as well and Bjork is back and looks as good as he has ever looked.

Despite only playing in seven games in the AHL, the Bruins believed that now was the time to bring Bjork back to the big-leagues. The 23-year-old looked great in his stint in Providence. He potted three goals to go along with five assists and a +5 rating. Aside from the stats, Bjork has really looked like a much-improved player. His confidence has continued to grow and has added a bit more snarl to his game. Obviously, none of that matters unless he is able to convert that to the NHL level but within his first three games in the NHL this season, we’ve seen positive results.

Not only did he rip a beautiful one-timer in the back of the net, but the most promising results have actually been his very apparent improvements in board-work and his offensive zone possession. Despite only averaging 11:47 of ice-time a game, whatever forwards Bjork has been paired with has generated multiple high-end chances and maintain a lot of zone time. That’s apparent with Bjork’s CF% (a possession stat) sitting at 62.5%. For reference, the Bruins outstanding top line has averaged 59.9%, so yea, Bjork has been good. After that game against St. Louis, coach Bruce Cassidy had some good things to say about Bjork, “nice to see him get rewarded, nice play. He was good hunting pucks, on the walls. Great kid, quiet, he’s worked hard and the guys love him. He’s going to be a National Hockey League player.” A young player getting praised by their coach (especially the same coach that believed he needed some time in the AHL) is always promising to see.

So what can we expect from Bjork for the rest of the season? Considering the injuries continuing to pile up, we should get our fair share of Bjork over the next few weeks. With a healthy David Krejci, I’d think Bjork would stay on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen or Brett Ritchie, which with the former, proved to be an effective line throughout their games together in the pre-season. When Bjork-Coyle-Heinen was used they held a 16-3 edge in shot attempts, and a 3-0 edge in hi-danger chances), during the 7:55 of 5v5 TOI (stat courtesy of @ConorRyan_93 on twitter). If that line can get some chemistry and solid playing time, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be just as effective as that line in the playoffs with Marcus Johansson.

They say third times a charm, and in Bjork’s third chance with the big club, I think he finally makes his mark in the NHL. With his always apparent speed and skill, and clearly much-improved work without the puck, the Bruins have yet another dynamic player on their hands. Anders Bjork will be a big part of the Bruins team this year.

(Also to end it off, this goal was too good to not share)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. San Jose: 10/29/19

Feb 26, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; San Jose Sharks right wing Barclay Goodrow (23) fights with Boston Bruins right wing Chris Wagner (14) during the second period at TD Garden.

(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: San Jose Sharks

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Heinen

Bjork – Lindholm – Ritchie

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

San Jose’s Lineup

Forwards

Marleau – Couture – Labanc

Kane – Hertl – Radil

Sorensen – Thornton – Meier

Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson

Defense

Vlasic – Burns

Dillon – Karlsson

Ferraro – Heed

Goalies

Jones

Dell

David Krejci and Chris Wagner made their way back to the lineup on Hockey Fights Cancer night against the Sharks. You can donate to the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative here. With Krejci’s return came the debut of a new second-line this season, with Danton Heinen getting a promotion to Krejci’s right-wing. Rask got the start after Halak played on Sunday.

“The Mighty Quinn,” Quinn Waters dropped the puck before this one. BNG writer Yanni Latzanakis wrote about Quinn earlier this month. You can read Yanni’s story about Quinn here. What a night for him, and for fellow Weymouth, Mass native Charlie Coyle as well.

First Period

Things were quiet early in the first until Barclay Goodrow went off for tripping. The lethal Bruins power play had its first opportunity. Someone scored on the power play. It was David Pastrnak, again. This was shortly after Brad Marchand was robbed of a high-danger scoring chance in front of the net by a blocked shot. The play was challenged by Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer for offsides, but to no avail. Pastrnak’s league-leading 12th of the season was assisted by Patrice Bergeron (7) to give the Bruins an early lead.

Right after the Pastrnak goal came another Bruins power play. This time, Lukas Radil went off for delay of game. Just around halfway through the man advantage, Jake DeBrusk found himself on a 3-on-1 with Marchand and Pastrnak, but Martin Jones made the stop.

As the man advantage began to fade away, Matt Grzelcyk made it 4-on-4 briefly when he went off for holding. The Sharks had some solid zone time on the power play, but couldn’t beat Tuukka Rask. The Bruins held on to their one-goal lead.

Late in the period, Tomas Hertl incidentally caught Charlie McAvoy up high and sat for two minutes as a result. After some time, David Krejci found himself all alone and smoked a one-timer past Jones to extend the lead to two. Krejci’s first of the season was assisted by Torey Krug (8) and Brad Marchand (14). The Bruins were 2 for 3 on the power play in the first period.

The Bruins really pushed the pace early on in this one. Shots were 16-6, scoring chances were 11-4, both in favor of the Bruins. It was one of the more dominant periods of the season.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Second Period

A golden opportunity to get back into this game came early in the second period for the Sharks. Krejci went off for hooking, and Brent Burns made it hurt on the power play, cutting the lead in half for the Bruins just a minute and 31 seconds into the period.

Nearly two minutes later, Hertl took his second penalty of the game, this time for tripping. Scoring opportunities came and went, but the Bruins couldn’t convert. That was until not too long after the power play concluded, Krejci put a slap pass right on Coyle’s tape for a tap-in goal to extend the lead back to two. Coyle’s second goal in as many games, and second of the season was assisted by Krejci and Heinen for their second assists. As good a time as ever for seconds, I suppose.

Add seven minutes of strong play in the second period to a great first period, and you’ll see a daunting 22-9 shot advantage for the Bruins. They weren’t giving the Sharks much of anything.

A solid pass from just inside of the defensive blue line by David Backes led to Chris Wagner finding space and burying a backhander on a breakaway, adding to a very productive offensive night for the Bruins. Wagner gets his first goal of the season, Backes gets his first helper.

The Sharks just weren’t doing themselves any favors as Radil went to the box again. Luckily for him, it didn’t lead to another power play goal for the Bruins, but not thanks to a lack of effort. The chances were coming over and over again, even after the conclusion of the power play.

Wagner picked up his third assist of the season as Brandon Carlo sent a shot on net that was deflected on the way in that fooled Jones, making it 5-1 Bruins. Zdeno Chara (2) had the secondary assist on Carlo’s second of the season.

The shots were 18-6 in another dominant period for the Bruins, bringing the total to 34-12. Scoring chances were 13-2, and 24-6 overall. It was all gas, no brakes hockey that gave them a huge four-goal cushion going into the third period. Here’s a visual.

Score: 5-1 Boston

Third Period

Things got messy early as Chara didn’t like a cross-check to the neck from Evander Kane to Charlie McAvoy and got into it briefly with Brenden Dillon. Chara, McAvoy, Kane, and Dillon all went to the box, but the Bruins ended up with a power play. Chara and Dillon got offsetting roughing penalties, as did McAvoy and Kane, and Kane got an additional two-minutes for high sticking.

Kane lined McAvoy up along the boards after the incident and Chara wanted a piece of him. They exchanged words and went their separate ways. Radil then took a third penalty of the game, but DeBrusk also took one, creating a 4-on-4. Neither team scored.

Things settled down after the theatrics before Brett Ritchie and Barclay Goodrow dropped the gloves in the first fight of the year. Brad Marchand and Logan Couture then locked up behind the Sharks net, but it didn’t materialize into much. Pete DeBoer was thrown out of the game, yes you read that right.

Backes then decided to say hello to Kane along the boards and got tied up with Radil in response. In a continuing theme, Kane made more friends than enemies in Boston, as he did last February when he dropped the gloves with Chara. Grzelcyk went down the tunnel late in the frame after taking a hit up high from Timo Meier, and a scrum ensued. The third period was a mess

Misconducts and scrums galore closed out this one. Rask didn’t have a very busy night, but stopped 16 of 17 shots. The shots were 9-5 Bruins in the third period (41-17 total). The Bruins had as many power play shots as the Sharks had total shots, and now they are 9-1-2 and rolling. Next up are the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at TD Garden 7:00 PM ET.

Final Score: 5-1 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 that we recorded on 10-27-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Weymouth Native ‘Mighty Quinn’ To Drop Puck at Bruins Game

mightyquinn

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Meet 3-year-old Quinn Waters from Weymouth, Massachusetts. The big Bruins and Charlie Coyle fan who is battling cancer will drop the ceremonial puck at the Bruins game on Tuesday, October 29th when the Bruins host the San Jose Sharks. That night, the Bruins will be hosting Hockey Fights Cancer night at the TD Garden.

Last February, just a day after celebrating his third birthday, Quinn went to Boston Children’s Hospital and was quickly diagnosed with a brain tumor on his brain stem called Medulloblastoma. That very next week after turning three, he underwent an eight-hour surgery to remove the tumor. He has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and has spent months of his young life in the hospital.

This past summer, after his countless rounds of treatment for cancer weakened his immune system, he was unable to go outside. This prompted many of his family and friends to visit Quinn at his house through his window. The story went viral and soon visiting requests for The Mighty Quinn at his window came pouring in at the Weymouth home. Quinn was getting all kinds of visits from friends and family, Weymouth residents and sports teams, local first responders, and local celebrities like The Dropkick Murphy’s. He even received a personal video from New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and Cornerback Stephon Gilmore telling Quinn that he is a champion and that he has the support from all of the Patriots.

Fellow Weymouth native and Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was also part of the hundreds of visitors to Quinn’s window this past August. Coyle along with Blades, the Bruins mascot, presented him with a personalized #13 Bruins jersey with Quinn’s name on it. Coyle proceeded to chat with Quinn and brighten his day as well as even partaking in a Nerf gun fight. Since then, Quinn and Coyle have become the best of friends as Coyle continues to support the Waters family and Quinn’s battle with cancer. The Bruins forward was also seen with a blank “Hockey Fights Cancer” sign in which he wrote, “I fight for The Mighty Quinn” in support of his new friend.

Just last week, the Waters family announced fantastic news that Quinn’s latest MRI showed no signs of new disease. Doctors have been amazed by Quinn’s recovery that although he is continuing his fight, he is making incredible progress.

At the end of September, Quinn was allowed to leave his house for the first time in months and is now set to make an appearance on TD Garden ice dropping the ceremonial puck for the Bruins and San Jose Sharks game on October 29th.

It will no doubt be an emotional night for Quinn and his family but hopefully will be a joyous occasion for Quinn in support of his favorite hockey team. I also suspect that when called upon, Charlie Coyle will line up and receive the ceremonial puck drop from his friend Quinn.

If you would like to support or follow Quinn and his fight against cancer, click here.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston Bruins: The Importance Of The Upcoming Weeks Schedule

jaroslav halak bruins

( Photo Credit: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After beginning the season on a tough Western road-trip against three playoff teams (the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche) and a promising young Arizona Coyotes team, you would think the Bruins would catch a break and get to a bit of an “easy” part of their schedule. Well, after a couple of home games against the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are about to enter their toughest challenge yet. Within the next week or so, the Bruins face have four massive games that, could really show what kind of Bruins team they really have this season.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/AP )

The Bruins begin this stretch of games tonight at home against the all too dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning. This Lightning team is lead by one of the best first-lines in the league that consists of three bonafide superstars in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. In three games since Point returned from his injury, the trio has had a combined six goals and nine assists in those games. Touting an incredible defense lead by Victor Headman and Ryan McDonagh and Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevsky between the pipes, it will certainly be a tough start to this already challenging string of games. (To read more about tonight’s game, check out the preview by fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Max Mainville here.)

After playing Tampa at home, they take a trip to their rivals in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena and then turn around to play those same Leafs at home three days later. Austin Matthews has been on a tear as of late, reaching the back of the net a whopping seven times in the Leafs eight games. Unlike the Bruins, secondary scoring has been the Leaf’s biggest strength this season with 14 players at or above a point every other game and they’ve had 12 different players notch a goal. The high-flying Leafs will be a little less potent without captain John Tavares, who went down with a broken finger, but it will certainly be a tough two games regardless.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports )

They end this stretch against the team that crushed all of Boston’s dreams last season in the Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have maintained essentially the same roster we saw last playoffs aside from the departures of Joel Edmundson and Patrick Maroon, and the addition of Justin Faulk. The Blues are still the same hard-nosed team Boston saw all too much of in the Finals and have started the season well with eight points in six games. Much of the team has continued to build on their playoff success; Brayden Schenn already has five goals, Ryan O’Reilly has seven-point in six games and youngster Sammy Blais has three goals and five points to go along with a +4 rating. As we know all too well against the Blues, just because it’s a home game doesn’t mean it’ll be easy (that joke hurt to make).

So after all of this, what would really make this a successful couple of weeks for the Bruins? Well, to start,  if the Bruins were able to snag six points out of these four games, that’s a pretty big win. But the biggest win would be to overwrite the continued narrative of seemingly the past four seasons (at least) and that is to get some more secondary scoring.

Image result for david krejci jake debrusk

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images )

While the Bruins have had a great start to the season, sitting at fifth in the league with a 5-1-0 record, goal scoring, and especially secondary scoring, has been abysmal. The top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have been great as they always are and have combined to score 11 goals in the B’s first six games. Well, the rest of the team has combined for just FIVE.

Jake Debrusk, David Krejci and Charlie Coyle have had just one assist apiece. Danton Heinen has looked good this season but has just one goal to his name. Karson Kuhlman, who has also looked good, has a goose egg in his points column and the revolving door of other wingers in the top-nine haven’t done much to help either. Whether it’s calling up someone from Providence (ahem, Anders Bjork) shaking up the lines (splitting up the top line) or eating some extra Wheaties in the morning, the Bruins need to figure out their scoring problem if they want to have some success in this tough group of games. The outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak can’t last for the entire year, this stretch is going to say a lot about this Bruins team going forward.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

How Can The Bruins Utilize Charlie Coyle

( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

By: Scott Delano | Follow Me On Twitter @Scottdelano3

There’s been a lot of talk of moving Charlie Coyle up to the second line to play alongside David Krejci to give the centerman more of a constant on his right side. While there’s no doubt that he is capable of playing the right-wing, he helps the team more playing in the middle of the ice.

Charlie has played an average of 77 games over the past 6 years. There is no question he has what it takes to play big minutes. He was a staple of consistency in the playoffs for the Bruins last year tallying 16 points in 24 games after putting up subpar numbers of 6 in 21 regular-season games for the Bruins.

I am a huge fan of Charlie Coyle. He’s a Boston guy with size, speed, and vision. He is not afraid to go into the corners and battle for a puck, and he does a great job of using his body to maintain possession coming off the boards.

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I want to purpose a different option. Instead of moving Charlie to the second line, what if we dropped him to the fourth line? It sounds crazy saying when I read it aloud, but Coach Bruce Cassidy utilizes his fourth line as Brad Marchand has said: “That’s not the fourth line… that’s 1A.”

Not afraid to start the fourth line against the opposing team’s first line, they usually set the tempo. During Boston’s 19 game point streak from 1/29/2019 – 3/10/2019, the fourth line started almost every one of those games. Cassidy will put them out on the ice in any situation.

The fourth line has many options. Last year we saw the fourth line consist of Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom, David Backes, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciarri. Acciari is now a member of the Florida Panthers. Wagner and Nordstrom are coming off an injury sustained at the end of the year. Backes is being floated between the third line, fourth line, and press box. Kuraly is still here doing what he does best.

A fourth line of Sean Kuraly on the left, Charlie Coyle in the middle and Bret Ritchie on the right, could be the next coming of the merlot line. They wouldn’t drop the gloves as much, but it’d be a line we would love to watch with speed, physicality, and a lot of skill. They would create a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches. You could even call it the third line if you wanted.

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We’ve already seen in the first two games that Cassidy is willing to put Kuraly on the left side. Ritchie has played on the right side of Coyle developing chemistry. And a third line of Danton Heinen, Par Lindholm and either David Backes or Chris Wagner would work for now without changing the roster.

By moving Coyle to the fourth line, the third line center position opens. Patrice Bergeron is 34 years old. David Krejci is 33 years old, and Coyle himself is a free agent at the end of this year. Though Par Lindholm is there now, Boston needs to introduce some youth at the center position to their lineup, and the third line is the perfecting learning area.

Jack Studnicka is making noise and could greatly benefit from watching and learning from these three centers. If not Studnicka, Trent Frederick is a former first-round pick with size could be an option on the third line. I would just like to see a player allotted time to learn from our great centers before it’s too late

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 148 that we recorded on 10-6-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Joe Chrzanowski: Bold Predictions For The Bruins 2019-20 Season

Bruins Bold Predictons

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

We are only “Eddie Shore” days (two for our younger fans) away from the start of the 2019-20 NHL regular season, so it’s time to make some big predictions for the year to come. I will be sure to remind everyone on a daily basis if any of these things do happen…and deny I ever said any of the stuff I am wrong about.

Coyle

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Charlie Coyle Will Sign An Extension With the Bruins

When the Bruins first traded for Coyle, I was cautiously optimistic. He filled a definite need for the team, had another year on his deal, and I had soured on Ryan Donato as a prospect when it became apparent he did not know where his own end of the ice was. Even though Coyle was playing well after the deal, he wasn’t putting up a ton of points and Donato went on a little mini-tear for the Wild. It was probably best for my sanity that Coyle lit it up during the playoffs and centered the Bruins most consistent line with Heinen and Johansson. It’s funny, I don’t seem to be hearing as much about that deal from Minny fans? Odd?

I’m not sure if anybody is aware of this, but Charlie Coyle is a local kid that was born and raised in Weymouth (lol). He appears to be relishing playing for the home town team (unlike some others before him). Because of this local connection and Don Sweeney’s mystical GM powers, I see Coyle signing a team-friendly extension with the Bruins with a term of five or six years and an AAV of around $5.25-5.50 million. When Krejci’s deal is up, Coyle will transition into the 2C role, with Studnicka sliding into the 3C spot. Remember, you heard it here first.

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(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Matt Grzelcyk Will Be McAvoy’s D Partner Before The Season Ends

I know that it’s only preseason, but to these eyes, Chara looks a bit slower than he was last year. This could be due to lingering injury or he could be just pacing himself, but he definitely looks like he lost another step. I watched him get burned on a couple of plays last week versus Philly because of his lack of foot speed. Before anyone’s head explodes, I am not saying that Chara does not still have a valuable place on the team. What I AM saying is that the team and the player would be best served if he slotted in on the third pair. This would likely give Z more favorable matchups against bigger and slower Bottom Six players, while at the same time preserving him for a much-needed role on the penalty kill.

Someone is going to have to step up and play the left-side with Charlie McAvoy on the first pair. Enter Charlestown’s own, Matt Grzelcyk. The two were paired together at Boston University when Grizz was a senior and McAvoy was a freshman. They were great together that season and have looked good as a tandem during a few preseason games. They would not be the biggest defense pair in the league, but they would definitely be one of the most nimble. I could see the opposing forecheck being shredded with 48 and 73 as a duo again. When this happens in December, you will want to buy me a Christmas present. I am letting you know now…I am not too proud to accept cash.

Heinen

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Danton Heinen Will Have 60+ Points In 2019-20

Danton Heinen is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Boston Bruins. No matter how many different roles he fills, how many little things he does well, or how much the advanced stats point to his stellar play, the guy just can’t seem to get any respect from the average B’s fan. That is going to change this season in a big way, largely due to my daily letters and emails sent to Cassidy pleading with him to leave Heinen on one line for more than three consecutive shifts. While I am kidding (as far as you know), I am of the opinion that bouncing Heinen around from line to line is the primary reason for his lack of offensive consistency. As a rookie, he was somehow able to produce 47 points while playing with a variety of teammates. I suspect this was largely due to the veteran guys he was playing with (Nash, Schaller, Backes, etc.). This past season, Cassidy relied on Heinen to be the defensive conscience of several line combinations that included rookies Ryan Donato, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Trent Frederic. I believe this led to a much more defensive mindset from Heinen that greatly affected his scoring.

This year, if everyone stays relatively healthy, I expect Heinen to ride shotgun with Coyle for the majority of the season. I would have preferred Bjork play on the opposite wing, but it looks like it will be Backes, at least to start the season. If 42 can play the way he did in his last preseason game, it should help both Coyle and Heinen put up very solid numbers. The other thing I am banking on is that Heinen gets a little more time on the 2nd power-play unit this year than he did previously. This will give him about a ten-point boost, push him over the 60 point plateau, and allow Heinen to take over the title of the “best value contract in hockey” at a paltry $2.8 million per.

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(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

Tuukka Rask Will Win the Vezina

Tuukka Rask is a lightning rod for Boston fans. People seem to either love him or hate him, and there does not appear to be a lot of middle ground. His regular-season stats last year (27 wins, 2.48 GAA, .912 Save %) were well below his career numbers, but in the playoffs Rask really shined. He played in 24 games, had a GAA of 2.02 and ridiculous Save % of .934. Boston fans have not seen those kinds of numbers since 2012-14 when Rask led the B’s to the Finals in 2013 and won the Vezina the following season in 2014.

The most impressive thing for me was his demeanor, which went well beyond the great numbers he put up. I have never seen Rask as calm as he was during the 2019 playoff run and it appears to have carried over into preseason. When he is playing like that, it has a soothing effect on the entire team. They play with more confidence and take more offensive chances knowing Tuukka has their backs. History is going to repeat itself this season with Rask taking home the Vezina the year after reaching the Finals and losing. The only difference is that the 2019-20 team will (fingers crossed) go much further than the 2013-14 squad did.

Steen

(Photo Courtesy of NHL.com)

Oskar Steen Will Outscore Every Bruins Draft Pick Since 2016 (Career)

This particular bold prediction will take some time to come to fruition, but what’re a few more seasons when I have had a man-crush on Oskar Steen since I first saw him doing the “rope drill” at Bruins Development Camp several years ago? I watched his career in the SHL with great interest and was very disappointed in his production during his first two seasons playing for Farjestads. He was not yet 20 years of age and playing on a good veteran team, so I should have expected a limited role to begin with I suppose. That changed in 2018-19, with Steen receiving a much larger role with the team. He took the opportunity and ran with it, finishing the season with 17g/20a and 49 PIM’s in 47 games. This was good for 10th in the SHL for scoring overall, but 1st for players 25 and under in the league.

After the SHL season ended, Steen signed his ELC with Boston in May and made plans to play in North America for the first time. Despite his relatively small stature (5’9″), Steen is a very solid 187 pounds. His low center of gravity, speed, and a bit of a nasty disposition should serve him well on the smaller ice surfaces. I believe he has the type of game that can translate even better in the NHL than it did in the SHL. Throughout the Prospects Challenge and the preseason games, he was easily one of the best players on the ice. If NHL roster spots were handed out based solely on merit, rather than age and waiver status, Steen would have been in Dallas on Thursday night. Given that he is new to the North American pro game, it should not hinder Steen’s development to play in Providence for a few months. I expect him to tear it up down there and make his NHL debut sometime after January 1st. He will be a regular in Boston next year at the latest, and you can take that to the bank.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

 

Pearson: Bold Predictions For The 2019-2020 Bruins Season

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After the shortest summer (albeit feeling like the longest) us Bruins’ fans have had in years, regular season hockey is just days away. The Boston Bruins had one of their most successful seasons in the last decade, coming just a game away from hoisting the cup. After a fairly quiet offseason of additions and subtractions, the Bruins are primed for another big year and here are a few of my big predictions.

Danton Heinen has a 55+ Point Season

Danton Heinen has his fair share of haters, and I still don’t understand why. Heinen flew under the radar in his rookie season with 16 goals and 31 assists (four more points than Jake Debrusk had in that same rookie season). The following year, Heinen had a bit of a sophomore-slump but still managed to have 34 points and a +13 rating. 

In the first half of the season, Heinen was predominantly paired with floundering players like Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork. The winger managed to pot just four goals and six assists in his first 40 games of the season.

The second half of the season was an entirely different story, however. Mostly paired with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, Heinen found his game again. In his final 37 games, Heinen was able to score seven goals and add 17 assists, good for 24 points and if that pace was averaged for the full 82 game season, Heinen would end up having a 53 point season.

Danton Heinen Bruins

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Heinen’s play didn’t just stop at the regular season. He was 1/3 of arguably the Bruins’ best line in the entire playoffs. Partnering up with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, the line continued to score big goal after big goal and were a huge reason the Bruins were able to make the run they did.

It seems this season Heinen will begin on the third line with Charlie Coyle and David Backes (who also seems primed for a bit of a breakout season.) If Heinen was able to put up 47 points with Riley Nash and Backes before, I see no reason why he can’t have an even bigger season with an even better center. 

Boston Bruins v Edmonton Oilers

(Photo Credit: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

The Bruins Win the Presidents Trophy

I feel like people really didn’t talk about how good this Bruins team was in the regular season last year. Obviously, the Tampa Bay Lightning ran away with the Presidents Trophy last season with a staggering 128 point, but the Bruins ended up coming in 3rd with 107 points (the same amount as the 2nd place Calgary Flames but they had more ROW)

It’s remarkable the Bruins were able to do so well with all that happened throughout the year. We all know the injury train ran through the team, here’s a long list of key players that missed double-digit games due to injury: 

Brandon Carlo (10 games)

Jake Debrusk (14 games)

David Pastrnak (16 games)

Matt Grzelyck (16 games)

Patrice Bergeron (17 games)

Torey Krug (18 games)

Zdeno Chara (20 games)

Charlie Mcavoy (28 games)

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Boston’s problems didn’t stop at just injuries. The Bruins went into last season without a true 2nd line right-wing and a 3rd line center, with the thought that their youth would be able to take over. That plan, unfortunately, did not work out. The combination of Ryan Donato, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Colby Cave, Anders Bjork, and Trent Frederic combined to play 137 games but totaled just 32 points and had a -13 rating. With the addition of Charlie Coyle, and seeing him at his best in the playoffs, the Bruins have one less big question mark regarding their lineup.

This season, there are far better options to shuffle around in the lineup compared to the last season. As I said before, I think David Backes can find his game again and have a successful season. After a handful of regular season and playoff games, Karson Kuhlman looks ready to take a full-time NHL role. We’ve already seen impressive growth from youngsters like Oskar Steen, Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka and Jakub Lauko after their strong play in the pre-season and there is no doubt in my mind that at least one of them will get the call, and have success in whatever role they are placed in. With the addition of low-risk players with upside like Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, there are endless amounts of players the Bruins can give shots to succeed in their lineup.

Their D-core will only improve this season with one more year under the belt of young guys like Charlie Mcavoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Gryzeck and Connor Clifton. If this Bruins team can stay healthy, and find a little more consistency in their middle-six forward group, a finish at the top of the NHL is certainly obtainable.

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(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Matt Grzelcyk Becomes a Top Pairing Defenseman

Zdeno Chara and his incredible NHL career is nearing the end. While he is still certainly effective, it’s very clear that Chara has lost a few steps over these past couples of seasons. With the league getting faster and faster, that doesn’t equate to a lot of success. This seems like as good of a time as ever to make the switch from the top pairing of Zdeno Chara and Charlie Mcavoy to Matt Grzelyck and Charlie Mcavoy.

Grzelcyk has developed into one of the most underrated defenseman in the entire league. If you aren’t a fan of the Bruins, you may have not even heard of the guy, but his importance to this club cannot be understated. He’s one of the smoothest skating defenseman out there and is incredible at breaking the puck out of the D-zone. 

The Charlestown native is very familiar playing with Charlie Mcavoy, after partnering up at Boston University to create one of the best pairings in the entire NCAA in 2015. The duo has already had success as a pairing in the NHL on the Bruins #2 powerplay and seems to be as natural of a defensive pairing as can be. Coach Bruce Cassidy has already given the pair a look in the pre-season, and the results just speak for themselves. The league is transitioning to quick, two-way defenders that move the puck incredibly well and this duo would certainly be one of the best.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-29-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Enjoy Solid Depth At Center

Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)

By Carrie Salls | Find me on Twitter @nittgrl73

The 2018-2019 season began with the question of who should be the Bruins’ third-line center. The first five months of the season was used to experiment with a number of options. Even when Boston traded fan-favorite Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for East Weymouth-native Charlie Coyle not long before the trade deadline in February, many had their doubts about whether a permanent solution had been found.

Although Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has taken a look at Coyle in preseason as a potential fit for the second-line right wing position, Coyle has shown in game action that he is still a force at center and can continue to be a key piece of a dominant bottom six.

Assuming Coyle does start the season the way he ended the last campaign, at 3C, that means the Bruins will likely have one of the best lineups down the middle in the National Hockey League. Along with Coyle, veterans Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci and fourth-line stalwart Sean Kuraly have proven their worth to the team time and time again.

Cassidy touched on the importance of depth at center in a recent press conference. The coach sounded like he would love to see Coyle fill the third-line pivot role, with Karson Kuhlman or another player slotting in on Krejci’s right wing on the second line instead of Coyle.

With veterans Bergeron and Krejci leading the way, Coyle winning over the fans and coaching staff and Kuraly showing that he is the quintessential fourth-line center that can bring a spark of energy and eat up hard minutes while providing offense in clutch moments, the Bruins seem to be entering the 2019-2020 season with a solid core at center.

However, Bergeron and Krejci are aging, and Bergeron is entering yet another season bothered with nagging injury issues. Krejci was also injured early in the first period of Monday night’s preseason tilt against the Flyers, although initial reports following the game indicated that Krejci’s lower body injury was not considered serious.

In addition to this already stellar lineup, the Bruins added more depth during the offseason with the signings of free agents Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, and David Backes can also comfortably take shifts at center if needed.

Looking past the next few seasons, Boston appears well-positioned to continue to be strong up the middle when Bergeron and Krejci retire. The team’s prospect stable boasts a few players in various stages of development, including Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka and 2019 first-round draft pick John Beecher, who look to have the  size, speed and skill that is needed to succeed at the position in today’s NHL.

Although a number of current Boston and Providence Bruins face free agency after the 2019-2020 season, Bergeron, Krejci and Kuraly, Frederic and Studnicka are not among them. Even if the team is unable to keep Coyle in the Spoked-B beyond this season, having three of those four key components of the offense still under contract is good news for the team.